Revisiting the Cincinnati Reds 2018 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers

Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig
Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig / Joe Robbins/GettyImages

In December of 2018, the Cincinnati Reds front office made all their fans wishes comes true with one, relatively simple, transaction.

Dick Williams, who headed up the Cincinnati front office at the time, traded Homer Bailey and his monstrous salary to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bailey's $20-plus-million salary for 2019 was seen in a very negative light among Reds fans after several sub-par seasons.

In addition to Bailey, two of the Reds top prospects were also shipped to Hollywood. Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray were packaged with Bailey and sent to the Dodgers. In return, the Reds received Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, and $7-million.

Revisiting the Reds 2018 trade with the LA Dodgers.

At the time, both Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray were seen as afterthroughts by the Cincinnati faithful. Reds fans were just excited to see Homer Bailey on the quickest flight out of the Queen City. Bailey never even suited up for LA and ended up signing with the Kansas City Royals, though the Dodgers paid his salary for the 2019 season.

While Jeter Downs may have been more highly thought of at the time, Josiah Gray may well be the biggest name to come out of that entire trade. Los Angeles eventually packaged Gray in a trade with the Washington Nationals for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer in 2021, but that deal may well come back to haunt Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman.

Since his trade to the Nats, Gray was 7-10 last season, but has come on strong in 2023. The right-hander is 4-5 with a 3.09 ERA. Downs also ended up with the Nationals, but hasn't had same success. Still just 24 years old, there's plenty of time for Downs to rebound and have a solid major league career.


Yasiel Puig excited the Reds fanbase upon his arrival in Cincinnati. The Wild Horse was a key piece of the midseason trade that allowed the Reds to acquire future Cy Young Award-winner Trevor Bauer, and is probably more well-known for his involvement in benches-clearing brawls than his performance on the field.

Few people probably assumed that Kyle Farmer, who was a catcher at the time, would be the best player to see the field for the Reds. Farmer played four seasons in Cincinnati and won the hearts of the fanbase for his grit and toughness before being dealt to Minnesota this past offseason in exchange for pitcher Casey Legumina.

Neither Alex Wood nor Matt Kemp provided much for the Cincinnati Reds. Wood, who was supposed to be key piece of the Reds rotation in 2019, spent most of the season on the Injured List, starting just seven games. Kemp spent just 20 games in Cincinnati and tallied only one homer before being shown the door.

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